Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.
What did Peter say in his prayer? How did he invoke the power of the Holy Spirit to resurrect a dead woman? Wouldn’t it be helpful if the Bible was more specific about how exactly to work miracles? All we learn from this passage is that Peter prayed, and then had faith in the Holy Spirit to raise Tabitha from the dead.
I wonder what would have happened if Peter had prayed and Tabitha hadn’t opened her eyes. That story probably wouldn’t have been included in Luke’s account. We probably wouldn’t know who Tabitha was. In fact, there may have been many times when Peter and the other disciples prayed to heal or resurrect others and nothing happened. So what can we really learn from the story?
No matter how faithful Peter was, it was still the Holy Spirit that resurrected Tabitha. Peter prayed and Peter believed, but Peter did not raise Tabitha from the dead. That’s a very important detail to remember when we think about our own faith: we are called to pray and to be faithful, but ultimately a miracle is not evidence of our faith, a miracle is evidence of the power of God’s will. We may pray faithfully and earnestly, we may (and do) believe that God can overcome anything, including death, but our prayers do not change the will of God, they help us conform to the “good, pleasing, and perfect will” of God. At times, God chooses to work his will naturally, in others, supernaturally. So whether the dead open their eyes or not, we sing glory to God and continue to pray and believe.